Wednesday, 2 December 2009

President Yar Adua's sickness

I bet you expected something beauty related right?

No this is stolen property from:

Of Sick Presidents by Abba Kalgo...

President Umaru Yar’adua is a sick man. There can be no doubt about that with the recent official confirmation after a trip to a Saudi hospital. His state of health prior to his election and subsequent assumption of office has been a subject of speculation, rumours, truths and half truths. Since the official confirmation, there have been widespread calls from prominent Nigerians for his resignation while others are asking that the powers of the constitution in matters of this nature be invoked. The debate is valid, the requests are justifiable and the concerns are legitimate. The matter that I believe should stand above all these concerns, debates and requests however, is that of ability. Is President Yar’adua able to serve out the rest of his term even with the underlying health issues? Do his medical conditions hinder his ability to govern? Will he make a full or enough recovery for him to properly govern Nigeria? All these questions need to be answered before any decision is taken on the future of Nigeria. Why I believe that these are the important questions that need to be answered is a matter of sick presidents and history.

America’s war time president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt who steered the country through the conflict from 1939 to 1945 was far from being in a good state of health. He had been in declining health even before the United States joined the war. Not only was his afflicted with paralysis, he was diagnosed with numerous ailments including coronary disease, angina, emphysema, systemic atherosclerosis and hypertension. Despite these conditions, Roosevelt did manage to help the United States win the war, preside over rebuilding part of a battered nation and even win re-election before he eventually succumbed to his illness years after his health issues began.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy who is perhaps America’s most celebrated president in modern times did have serious medical conditions that hindered his ability to move physically. He had chronic back problems, Addisson’s disease that hindered his body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and hypothyroidism which led to depression, joint and muscle pain.

Another American President, Dwight Eisenhower was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and ventricular aneurysm as a result of a heart attack suffered while in office. Mr Eisenhower did make a recovery enough to see him serve out the rest of his first term and even win re-election. He remained president until 1961 a full six years after suffering the initial heart attack in 1955. He did live for a further 8 years after leaving office. He died in 1969.

Closer to home, former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, did complain of breathing difficulties while addressing a political rally in 2004 and was rushed to hospital. He did make a full recovery and mastermind an ANC victory at the polls. He was president until September 2008 and is living in retirment in relatively good health. Also in 2004, during the celebration of Zanzibar’s 40th independence anniversary, the then President Benjamin Mkapa addressed a Nation after being away from the country for several months seeking medical treatment. He lives a relatively healthy life in retirement since serving out his full term in office.

Looking at all these personalities who were in similar situations with Umar Yar'adua based on their deteriorating health conditions and also being presidents, it is very premature in my opinion, to start any talks of succession, stepping down or ascension until a clear picture of President Yar'adua’s health is in the public glare and assessed by experts and authorities in the field. Even at that, it has to be confirmed whether the president is capable of making a full or sufficient enough recovery to return to his constitutional duty of running the country. Even if he is not, it has to be shown beyond doubt that his condition will cause him to be unable to discharge his duties. Until that is done, I say Mr President is just a sick man as many of us have been in the past and wish him a speedy and full recovery.


  1. What are we going to do about our sick president?

  2. Hi,

    Good one on President Yar Adua's sickness .I recently found out 1 million children are accidentally poisoned in their homes each year.And also I did find the toxins we use in our home here think it's time we all know about the toxins we use.



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